I’m not reviewing a book, merely recounting my experience of reading it. Which, sadly, hasn’t been all that great.
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks struggling to get through the latest installment in a Detective series that I’ve followed since its infancy. The first book I read when it was still self-published by the author. Then it got picked up by a Big Six Publisher and went on for a further six books. I loyally and hungrily read each one, enjoying the easy reading style of non-literary fiction. These books were written purely for entertainment.
I’m not normally one for crime fiction. I don’t like that I can’t help myself from trying to guess who the killer/criminal is. Everything could be a clue. I can’t sit back and passively read, I’m always trying to second guess the writer. I don’t like this, and I think I’m alone in thinking this way. I just want to enjoy the story being told to me. Passive reader. Lazy reader. That’s me.
This series, however, grabbed my attention (mostly because the first book was free, I love free books for my Kindle) because it mixed the supernatural and macabre with crime. I was no longer trying to figure out who the killer was but how the detective was going to explain away the supernatural elements of his case. How was he going to turn it into a rational arrest?
So, this last book arrived a couple of months before Christmas but I didn’t read it straight away because I had a ton of jobs to do around the house, other books to read, and my own book to write. Having put the latter to one side for now and the former being picked at as and when I feel productive, I finally got around to reading it.
Sadly, I’ve been struggling to enjoy it. The supernatural creepiness has been pushed to a side-plot which I’m guessing will have an important role to play in the book’s finale. Or at least I hope so. But it’s not just this that has stuck in my craw, it’s the descriptions. Every time a side character makes an appearance, we get the same observation about them. A mannerism designed to show us something about the character, chronic smoking habit, ever-present latest technology etc. It’s repetitive and presumes that I haven’t remembered what happened in the last chapter. I do. Whenever the main character gets home his pet makes an appearance, in the same way with the same attitude and the same inference is drawn every time. I get that continuity is good but if it’s not adding to the story then once or twice is enough. Otherwise it’s just boring to read.
I don’t know why the style suddenly strikes a discord with me. Perhaps because there is less creepiness, perhaps his editorial team has changed, perhaps he has grown tired of the series or changed the way he writes it. Perhaps since becoming a mother my own tastes have changed and along with them my ability to enjoy a good, trashy book. Whatever it is, I’m still going to read it to the end and buy the next one in the series once it drops to £3.85 on Amazon – my prerequisite for a printed book. You know, just in case it was a one off.
Happy reading and writing! x